22 Plans for a Business Video

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compelling video marketing

FINANCIAL MARKETERS CAN LEARN FROM MORE VISUAL INDUSTRIES If your in origination, marketing or investor relations, it's easier than you might think to create visual messaging for your financial firm.

Firms sometimes ask me what kind of video they should make. So below I've set out a few ideas on what I think is useful commercially and a very brief summary of the structure and message of each. In all cases, remember to show, don't tell!

Photo of craftsman in studio with 'Show Don't Tell' caption

Good Examples

Just look at these examples (you may have to skip the pre-roll ads):

So how do you start mapping out what's best for you?

Choose a format and plan out your message

Well-made videos show the message, rather than merely tell it. But further, they reveal what kind of people you are, how your product or service works and they allow you to invite customer enquiry. Plus they create a magnet for your social media posts. So the case for using them is overwhelming, as many firms are now finding.

I've not made all of these formats below by any stretch, but they're how I would approach the job. I've ranked them roughly in order of scale of effort, starting with the easiest (i.e taking into account the number of locations and people involved, amount of creative planning, camera and editing skills).

They're just my opinion, but they're based on experience:

  1. Product review

    Prove your product/service quality by asking an independent trusted reviewer to critique it. Provide them with maximum clarity on features and benefits.

    Structure: entirely in their control, but you suggest: problem > product overview > features & benefits > conclusion.

    No shooting or editing required (of course you have no control over quality or content).

    Effort: Almost nil

  2. Customer videos

    Create customer ambassadors and prove that your firm listens.

    Structure: let your customers decide. Message: again, your customers control this. NB you can encourage customers to share videos of your products or services by offering a prize or an elevated status - perhaps to this month's editor. Invite them to post to your Facebook page, and then embed their videos on your web pages.

    No shooting or editing required (also no control over quality or content).

    Effort: Almost nil

  3. FAQ support

    Prove that you listen, understand and help. Take a question or problem, and solve it with an explanation or demo.

    Structure: problem > answer.

    Shoot in your workplace or studio, with anything from a phone-cam to professional kit.

    Effort: Easy

  4. Staff video blog

    Prove that your staff of all levels are up-to-date (not just senior and sales, but also operations, production and technical people), and publish vivid good news with a first-person perspective.

    Structure: summary of a blog headline > where employee has seen this practice > what happened > what the outcome was. NB: probably best to film these personally on a phone-cam, and good places to do this are while on business trips, leaving client premises, leaving meetings, servicing or installation visits, conferences etc.

    Shoot in your workplace or studio.

    Effort: Easy

  5. Seminar

    Widen your audience reach by making your public presentations, conferences and seminars available and comment-able online.

    Structure: problem > task > actions > outcomes (but you may prefer to use your own presentation structure).

    Shoot at your workplace or venue, with professional kit.

    Effort: Fairly Easy

  6. Product demo

    This applies as much for services as products. Show how the product is easy to use/experience and demonstrate the benefits (for ideas, see narratives). Optionally prove it's better than competitors.

    Structure: problem > preparation before use > the use > alternative uses > outcomes (if suitable, show before and after).

    Shoot at your workplace or studio, with phone-cam or for better results, professional kit.

    Effort: Fairly Easy

  7. Vox-pop-buzz

    Build interest around an event, a launch, or a re-targeting, by asking prospective or real customers what they expect from a forthcoming product/service (authentic or tongue-in-cheek feel).

    Structure: establish location > ask the question e.g 'what would you expect from brand X' > interview response snippets > closing question (unanswered) e.g 'how will brand X help you'?

    Shoot at your workplace or studio, with phone-cam or for more serious results, professional kit.

    Effort: Fairly Easy

  8. Board announcements

    Encourage current and potential customers and investors to take confidence in you. Best done quarterly.

    Structure: proposition (could be an industry challenge, a major announcement or a quarterly or annual update > executive interviews (ideally inter-cut with relevant behind-the-scenes footage) > conclusion from chairperson or CEO.

    Shoot at your workplace, offices or studio, with professional kit.

    Effort: Fairly Easy

  9. Product testimonial

    Show how customers use your product to improve their business / lives.

    Structure: your customer's particular problem or challenge > the job of the product in solving the customer's decision to buy the product or service > how they use/used it (try get a problem in here with its solution to make it real) > outcome.

    Shoot at your customer's location if possible or your workplace if not, with professional kit.

    Effort: Fairly Easy

  10. Company policy

    Explain the basic principles behind holiday, sick pay, privacy, expenses etc.

    Structure: why the policy exists (fairness, budgets, law etc) > one q&a for each part of the policy (possibly an HR person and an employee) > references to written detail.

    Shoot at your workplace or studio, with professional kit.

    Effort: Fairly Easy

  11. Shared learning

    Share and develop skills with contextual training 'how-to' videos, which are bloggable and which work well on mobiles. Lets you start the ball rolling with an official video, and after a year of comments can be updated and republished.

    Structure: problem / diagnostic > preparation before use (e.g.  tools) > the use > outcomes (if suitable, show before and after) > trouble-shooting.

    Shoot at your workplace, with professional kit.

    Effort: Fairly Easy

  12. Press documentary footage

    Increase your audience reach by allowing journalists and video bloggers to use cutaway material shot on your premises.

    Structure: none - just individual clips, ideally with discreetly identifiable branding somewhere in shot.

    Shoot at your workplace, customer locations or studio, with professional kit.

    Effort: Reasonable

  13. Corporate social responsibility footage

    Demonstrate ethical and local commitment by packaging footage of your involvement in local events. Ideally fronted by a documentary style presenter.

    Structure: situation before the event > their big idea > why you're involved > how you collaborated > what they thought of you > event outcome.

    Shoot at your workplace, customer or other stakeholder locations or studio, with professional kit.

    Effort: Reasonable

  14. Skill portrait

    Reveal how much skill and thought goes into work behind-the-scenes.

    Structure: environment > aims > challenges > experience > outcomes. Message: this person is an unsung hero, and the company encourages this kind of very personal way of doing things.

    Shoot at your workplace, customer locations or studio, with professional kit.

    Effort: Reasonable

  15. Executive portrait

    Show how intelligent and benevolent your top people are, and how the firm is stronger for his/her contribution.

    Structure: role > personal approach and professional beliefs > experience > in-post highlights showing results or operations.

    Shoot at your workplace, office, supplier or customer locations, with professional kit.

    Effort: Reasonable

  16. Recruitment

    Attract the right people, with appealing content.

    Structure: types of work available at your firm > behind-the-scenes look at the workplace > short excerpts from characters in your workplace > describe who'll most likely get placed > how to apply.

    Shoot at your workplace, with professional kit.

    Effort: Sizeable

  17. Video press releases

    Improve press take-up of your news with documentary style material, ideally involving customers.

    Structure: customer or market with a problem > task taken on by you > actions and difficulties > outcome.

    Shoot at your workplace, customer, distribution or supplier locations or a studio, with professional kit.

    Effort: Sizeable

  18. Day in the life

    Engage visitors with a story of a working day in the life of an employee. Staff stories in operations could reveal quality and skill; in customer service could reveal flexibility and problem ownership; and in sales could reveal understanding and empathy.

    Structure: linear sequence of the day.

    Shoot at your workplace, customer locations, distributors or suppliers and studio, with professional kit.

    Effort: Sizeable

  19. Product launch

    Build excitement by heroing your product/service. Make clear it's now available.

    Structure: the hole in the market (or simply what customers were asking for) > how the product or service was developed (include at least one problem and how it was solved to make it real) > the reveal of the finished item (if it's a service, footage of delivering the service is a good reveal).

    Shoot at your workplace, customer locations, distributors, outlets or studio, with professional kit.

    Effort: Sizeable

  20. Video ads

    Increase your reach with YouTube pre-roll, and sponsorship of partners, events and Google video ads.

    Structure: varies according to message and creative - probably best left to your design or ad agency.

    Shoot at suitable creative locations or your workplace or studio, with professional kit.

    Effort: Challenging

  21. Spoof viral ad

    Win a wide viral audience with a humour-based spoof advert.

    Structure: problem (authentic to make the spoof unpredictable) > implications of problem to customer (greatly  exaggerated - e.g you could lose a leg) > their need, overtly stated (authentic) > solution (your product / service shown) > USP (genuine) > extras on top of that (ridiculous e.g free air).

    Shoot at suitable creative locations or your workplace or studio, with professional kit.

    Effort: Challenging

  22. Viral video

    For the boldest of marketers - requires content so compelling as to spread like a virus. Examples: 'A dramatic surprise in a small square' and 'Will it blend'.

    Structure: wide open, but make it as dramatic as possible!

    Shoot at suitable creative locations or your workplace or studio, with professional kit.

    Effort: Challenging

For me, a great picture is worth a thousand words, and a great video, a thousand pictures. Because videos and short films have the power to change emotion, and that drives buying decisions.

Concept diagram showing relative value of writing, photos and videoA thousand pictures equals one video

Have you seen too many slick corporate videos to want one, or got a feeling that a good video would tell your story well? Hopefully the list above suggests that it would. I wish you inspiration and good shooting with your next video! If you've seen great examples of the above, do post them below, and I'll update the blog.

And the £64,000 question... what stories are your current videos and films telling about your firm? I'd love to hear from you. And if you're attempting any of the above formats, show me how you got on!

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